Main content area

Responses of Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacterial and Archaeal Populations to Organic Nitrogen Amendments in Low-Nutrient Groundwater

Reed, David W., Smith, Jason M., Francis, Christopher A., Fujita, Yoshiko
Applied and environmental microbiology 2010 v.76 no.8 pp. 2517-2523
Nitrosomonas, ammonia, bioremediation, genes, groundwater, hydrolysis, molasses, nitrates, nitrification, nitrogen, polymerase chain reaction, urea, Idaho, Snake River
To evaluate the potential for organic nitrogen addition to stimulate the in situ growth of ammonia oxidizers during a field scale bioremediation trial, samples collected from the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer in Idaho before, during, and after the addition of molasses and urea were subjected to PCR analysis of ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) genes. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) were present in all of the samples tested, with AOA amoA genes outnumbering AOB amoA genes in all of the samples. Following urea addition, nitrate levels rose and bacterial amoA copy numbers increased dramatically, suggesting that urea hydrolysis stimulated nitrification. Bacterial amoA diversity was limited to two Nitrosomonas phylotypes, whereas archaeal amoA analyses revealed 20 distinct operational taxonomic units, including several that were markedly different from all previously reported sequences. Results from this study demonstrate the likelihood of stimulating ammonia-oxidizing communities during field scale manipulation of groundwater conditions to promote urea hydrolysis.